Ocean Spray Bog and Spinach Salad #ad #CranberryClassroom @OceanSprayInc

Thank you to Ocean Spray® for sponsoring this blog post. I’m partnering with Ocean Spray® for its NYC Cranberry Classroom. #ad All opinions are my own.

With Fall around the corner, it is cranberry season. As such, it is time to make some fun and seasonal  recipes with cranberries.  One such fall favorite is a spinach salad- great year round, but even better when gussied up.


Ocean Spray’s ® Spinach Salad

Effortless Spinach Salad


8 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, optional

1/2 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest, optional


Wash and clean spinach. Tear into bite size pieces and place in a serving bowl. Add half of the feta or goat cheese and onion; toss to combine.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with dried cranberries and almonds. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.

Another way to celebrate the joys of cranberries is with the Ocean Spray® cranberry bog.

The Ocean Spray® cranberry bog was recently at Rockefeller Center® to celebrate the first day of fall. Nothing says fall like cranberries- and when will you ever get to see a bog in the middle of New York City? Not very often, at least.


Did you know that 2016 marks the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest? I didn’t. The NYC bog also shared cranberry’s story of taste, health and heritage with visitors in a fun and delicious way.

Farming Ocean Spray ® cranberries is often handed down generation to generation- it’s really a family business. It is interesting to see growers and their families (who were on-site) talk about the harvest and how it’s changed over the last 200 years.  Nothing like a first hand experience- but if you can’t have one, you at least get to hear it right from the horses mouth (as it were).


Those who didn’t make it to the bog can experience The Most Beautiful Harvest for themselves at www.OSharvest.com.  You can see the little canberry’s journey from bog to bottle. It’s cute- check it out.

Here is some more information on it-

“Featuring fully immersive, 360-degree views of a bog, it’s the next best thing to being there! Ocean Spray launched the “Most Beautiful Harvest” experience in 2015 using Oculus Rift technology. The desktop, mobile and Google Cardboard ready versions of this fully immersive 360-degree harvest experience are now available to consumers online at www.OSharvest.com.”



Easy Foods for Back to School and Beyond

Getting out the door in time for school (and work) can be quite the hassle.  Looking for some new food ideas to shake things up? Try these.

organic yogurt

Noosa yohurt has been a favorite since we first tried it.  It’s a little pricey, but worth the splurge now and then.  Made in small batches on a family farm from all natural whole milk, fresh fruit purees, and honey, you won’t find this kind of quality in other many other brands.  If you are worried about allergies, it’s also gluten-free, (not to mention probiotic) so nearly everyone can enjoy it.  Noosa comes in cases of four (easy to pack in a lunchbox) as well as larger containers.  Some of their new “sweet heat” flavors include Rasberry Habanero (my husband loves this one) Pineapple Jalapeno, Mango Sweet Chili, and Blackberry Serrano (my personal favorite). The heat might not be for everyone, but not to worry- traditional favorites are sill available.

Have you ever tried tofu? I find people tend to react to tofu like they do with curries- they like to totally freak out about it and paint it all with the same brush. However, it’s a very versatile food and takes on the flavor of nearly anything. You can even make smoothies and ice pops with it. Honest. House Foods makes several kinds tofu and tofu noodles as well (yes, you can make pasta dishes). There are a ton of recipes as well on their website, if you have not yet tried cooking this traditional Asian food.   Tofu is inexpensive, kosher, gluten free, non GMO, and in general pretty good for you. If you have not yet tried House Foods Tofu grab some next time you are at the grocery store.


More for mom and dad then for the kids is Vega.  If you are looking for something healthy to grab on your way out the door, or for lunch, this is an option to check out.  Healthy and without the gritty taste so many other “shake” type drinks have, this plant-based and clean eating option gives you the protein and nutrients you want to build and repair muscle, support your metabolism. Not only that, but you also get antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and more to keep (or help you get) healthy and fit. That’s a lot for one drink.  Vega Clean Protein and Vega Clean Energy  are available online or in stores like Target- really. That’s new.

You can also check out these recipe ideas for Vega https://myvega.com/recipes/rainbow-ice-pops/ (made with Vega One) or https://myvega.com/recipes/acai-bowl/ (made with Vega Proteins & Greens).


Once in a while, though, you are going to be in the mood for dessert. When you are, you might want to try one of the new  G by GODIVA chocolate bars. Because sometimes, when you want chocolate, you really, really want chocolate. This is a “super premium” collection of six chocolate bars that is meant for those special occasions when you are looking for an extra special treat. The Mexican single origin chocolate bars come in six varieties. These include Dark Chocolate, Toasted Coconut, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut Crisp, Blonde Chocolate & Salted Caramel, and the Dark Chocolate Orange and Ginger Flavor. All the chocolates are made with premium ingredients and are blended with Mexican chocolate by GODIVA’s famous chef chocolatiers. The bars are 7$ each in stores and online.

Pomegranate Blueberry Acai Smoothie Bowl

quick smoothie


Smoothie Bowl
2 Frozen acai smoothie packs, broken up
1 Banana
1/3 Cup Blueberries
1/3 Cup Raspberries
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling Ice
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
2 1/2 Teaspoon Chia seeds

Topping Suggestions
2 Tablespoons blueberries or raspberries
2 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1/2 Banana sliced
2 Tablespoons coconut flakes
2 Tablespoons chia Seeds
1 Tablespoons almond butter, melted
2 Tablespoons granola or dry cereal


In a blender, add smoothie ingredients and Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling Ice; cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until consistency is of a thick smoothie. Pour into cereal bowl and top with your favorite combination of toppings. *Try popping this mixture into a popsicle mold to take your acai to-go! Simply fill the bottom of the popsicle mold with the toppings, then pour the smoothie mixture and finish with another layer of toppings

Want To Know What is in Your Favorite Restaurant’s Foods?

Want to know what is in the food you consume when you eat out? Make better choices when you are choosing a restaurant- here are the best and worst chains, and why.

New antibiotics scorecard: number of top restaurant chains restricting use in chicken doubled in 2016
Subway and Wendy’s most improved; KFC, Olive Garden and 14 others get Fs

what is in your food

Since last year, twice as many of the nation’s top fast food chains are responding to the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance by adopting strong policies that prohibit the routine use of antibiotics, or medically-important antibiotics, in the meat and poultry they serve. This is according to the second annual Chain Reaction report and scorecard, released today by a group of consumer, environmental and health organizations, which grades America’s top 25 restaurant chains on their policies and practices regarding antibiotics use and transparency in their meat and poultry supply chains. The nine chains earning passing grades are Panera Bread (PNRA), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Subway, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s (MCD), Wendy’s (WEN), Taco Bell (YUM), Pizza Hut (YUM) and Papa John’s Pizza (PZZA).

Today’s report, Chain Reaction II: How Top Restaurants Rate on Reducing Use of Antibiotics in Their Meat Supply, is being released amidst a public outcry from consumers and shareholders urging chains like KFC, Olive Garden and In N Out Burger to adopt policies prohibiting the routine use of antibiotics in the meat and poultry they serve. The results from Chain Reaction II come one day before a high-profile meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance, a major global health crisis caused by the misuse of antibiotics by the medical community and livestock industry.

Chain Reaction II highlights include:

  • Panera and Chipotle continue to lead the pack with solid “A” grades for implementing comprehensive policies that restrict antibiotics use across their meat and poultry supply.
  • Nine of the surveyed companies — twice as many as last year — received passing grades, largely due to their transition to chicken raised without antibiotics or chicken raised without medically-important antibiotics.
  • The restaurant chains surveyed this year made little progress on beef or pork.
  • Five companies with strong chicken policies received grades ranging from B to C- (Subway, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Taco Bell.)
  • McDonald’s earned an improved grade of “C+” this year, after completing its 2015 commitment to end the use of medically-important antibiotics in its domestic chicken supply — with 100% of the chicken at its 14,000 U.S. locations meeting this standard. But the company has yet to take action on beef or pork.
  • Subway improved the most, leaping from an “F” in 2015 to a “B” in 2016. Last fall, under pressure from the coalition and consumers, the chain committed to ending the use of antibiotics across its entire meat and poultry supply by 2025. Very few other chains—and none at this scale—have taken such a strong stance. Implementation of new policies for chicken began this year, but not turkey, pork or beef.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts was the only company to be downgraded to an “F” this year after weakening its publicly stated antibiotic policy.
  • The following chains also received an “F,” either for having no disclosed antibiotics use policy or for having policies that allow for the continued routine use of antibiotics in the production of the meat and poultry they serve: Applebee’s, Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Chili’s, Dairy Queen, Denny’s, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, IHOP, Jack in the Box, KFC, Little Caesars, Olive Garden, Sonic and Starbucks.

Research for the Chain Reaction II report, including the survey of the top 25 U.S. restaurant chains, was compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Friends of the Earth, Consumers Union, and Center for Food Safety.

Fasta Pasta Maker

fast pasta dish

Developed by popular demand and due to the overwhelming success of the original Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker, here comes the Fasta Pasta Family Size , which cooks approximately 8 servings of pasta at once!  You can expect the same great features as the Original Fasta Pasta – only bigger.  Deemed the Number 1 Microwave Pasta Cooker by America’s Test Kitchen Gadget Guru Lisa McManus, the Fasta Pasta has been featured on numerous national television programs, magazines, newspapers and digital media. From busy moms to college students to senior citizens, our customers love that Fasta Pasta cooks and drains your pasta in one container in minutes, but asked for a larger version to use for the whole family.  It was time to increase the Fasta experience!

Don’t be fooled by its no-fuss appearance, this microwave pasta cooker will not disappoint.  It is the perfect hassle-free way to cook pasta for large dinner parties or families on-the-go. With its patented reservoir design, the water circulates throughout, ensuring perfect pasta every time.

This made in the USA product is BPA-free and FDA-approved, and even includes a free cooking guide and recipes! Fasta Pasta Family Size cooks all types of pasta, vegetables, soups, casseroles and rice, without stickiness or starchiness from start-to-finish in minutes. Treat your guests to second and third helpings, with this upgraded pasta maker. The new dimensions (8.5W x 13L x 6H) can be used in standard size microwaves that measure 21 inches wide or larger. Accommodating as much pasta as you need, it’s guaranteed that no one will leave your house hungry this summer. Works great with all kinds of summer pasta salad, such as macaroni, rotini and more! This is sure to make your meal prep easier than ever.

Available for Purchase on Amazon, www.fastapasta.com , www.scsdirectinc.com  and at specialty retailers nationwide. Retail Price: $19.99

The best-selling Original Fasta Pasta can be purchased for $14.99 by visiting Amazon, www.fastapasta.com, www.scsdirectinc.com  and at specialty retailers nationwide.


September means the beginning of fall, the changing of leaves – and yes, back to school. As schedules and calendars become more predictable and understandably more hectic, keeping meal prep easy is a staple of any smoothly-running home.

That’s where Limoneira comes in, because lemons and other citrus fruits can help. Check out Megan Roosevelt’s top tips for saving time in the kitchen here. Megan is a Registered Dietician, spokesperson for Limoneira Lemons for Life™ and the founder of Healthy Grocery Girl®.

“Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges are great staples to keep in mind when meal planning because they’re versatile and full of nutrients,” says Megan in her latest video for Limoneira. Check out her time-saving back-to-school tips and tricks below.

  1. Citrus & Apple – Apples are a great snack. To prevent them from browning once sliced, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the slices.
  2. Citrus Snack Bars & Bites –  Store bought snack bars can be high in sugar, and low in fiber and other wholesome ingredients. Make your own snacks on the weekends for the week ahead.

No-Bake Cashew Lemon Cookie Bites

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • a pinch of sea salt

Pulse together until you create a batter. Roll into bites, and store in the fridge or freezer.

  1. Chocolate Dipped Oranges – We all love a little treat after lunch, and chocolate-dipped orange slices are not only full of great antioxidants, but are easy to make in advance and keep stored in the fridge or freezer over the weekend.
  2. Citrus Water – Lemon (or orange) water is a great way to make hydrating just a bit tastier. Keeping a jug of citrus water on hand in the fridge provides a yummy (and healthy) alternative to juices and sodas all week long.

Each month, Megan will be featuring another wonderful facet of lemon living. Subscribe to Limoneira’s Youtube channel for more information on the many ways this endlessly versatile fruit can improve life inside the home and beyond.

Snacks for Back To School

Packaged in travel-friendly canisters and single serving bags and offering options like no sugar added, gluten-free and Non-GMO, these nutritious and filling snacks that won’t melt or spoil are the perfect accompaniment to travel adventures or after school cravings.


  • Mamee Stacked Crisps – a line of unbelievably delicious, gluten-free and GMO-free potato crisps stacked in canisters to create a perfect crunch every time, all while fitting snuggly in bags for boarding or hiking or nestled in vehicle cup-holders and seatback pockets. Flavors include:

o   Original, BBQ and Sour Cream & Onion

  • Good Health Snacks – offers a variety of kid-friendly travel snacks in single-serving bags that are Certified Organic, Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher Certified as well as those made with Extra Goodness!™. Snack selections include:

o   Gluten Free Pretzels and Veggie Pretzels (launching mid-July)

o   Avocado Oil and Olive Oil Kettle Style Potato Chips

o   Sweet Potato Kettle Style Chips

o   Veggie Straws, Veggie Chips and Veggie Stix©

back to school

  • New Zealand Jerky – a line of premium Non-GMO Project Verified, free-range, grass-fed beef jerky made with only natural ingredients. Packaged in small, individual bags, NZJ’s protein-packed jerky is perfect for satisfying hunger on-the-go. Flavors include:

o   Original, Teriyaki, and Peppered

  • Bare Snacks – a line of snacks that are made from freshly picked whole fruit that’s simply baked, never fried, with nothing artificial and no preservatives. These snacks are made with real fruit and no added sugar, which will help keep the energy levels at an appropriate level on long car trips or flights. Selections include:

o   bare Apple Chips, bare Coconut Chips and bare Banana Chips

all natural snacks

  • Barbara’s Cheese Puffs – irresistible cheese puffs bursting with the flavors of real cheeses, such as aged cheddar, blue cheese and white cheddar, and combined with Non-GMO stone-ground corn. Barbara’s Cheese Puffs are cholesterol free, vegetarian, made with wheat-free ingredients, and now gluten free. Varieties include:

o   Original, Jalapeno, Baked Original and Baked White Cheddar

POWERLunchbox for Back to School

Let’s face it, packing a lunch box sure isn’t what it used to be.   Gone are the days of a daily sandwich and carrot sticks.  Today kids have much more diverse and sophisticated tastes, food allergies require special consideration, everyone is looking for better-tasting ways to get protein into snack bags and parents are, well, still trying to find creative ways to sneak in the fruits and veggies!  That’s right, kids are eating sushi out of bento boxes and even the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich has gone nut-free.  So what’s a parent to do?  Below are a few great options for packing a lunchbox that kids of all ages will love, and that will make parents happy too!

no nut butter

Sneaky Chef® No-Nut Butter is an award-winning delicious nut-butter alternative made from naturally sweet and “nutty” tasting golden peas, but without a trace of peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, or soy.   That’s right, GOLDEN PEAS!  That means it’s made from pea protein – the high quality, plant-based protein source that is getting tons of nutrition buzz these days.  Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butters are produced in a nut-free facility and are all natural, gluten-free and contain no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils and no artificial colors or flavors. Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter is available in two varieties, Smooth and Chocolate – both available in 18 ounce jars and Smooth in these convenient grab-and-go cups.  Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter is an indulgent peanut butter alternative that is so good, everyone will love it, allergies or not!

Sneaky Chef if also thrilled to share that we’ve partnered with Annie’s Homegrown to develop Pea B&J Pockets made with golden pea butter! Like our Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter jars, Annie’s Pea B&J Pockets are available at Target Stores.  You’ll find them in the freezer aisle.

flavored popcorn

Inspired by flavors from around the world, Spiced & Infused marries the whole grain goodness of popcorn with real herbs and spices and other pure ingredients to create delicious flavors that take you on a culinary adventure.  The unique and delicious herbs and spices used in Spiced & Infused popcorn are known not only for their flavor, but also for their known health benefits, and provide delicious taste with less calories and fat than many other flavored popcorn options. Available in four delicious flavors – Bombay Seasoning, Chipotle Taco, Asian Barbecue, and French Herb, Spiced & Infused popcorn is a great snacking option for the whole family and is perfect for snacks, in lunchboxes, at parties or to take movie night to a whole new level.

no milk

Created from one of nature’s most universally-loved fruits, the banana, BANANA WAVE bananamilk is a delicious, creamy and nutrient-filled new option.   Derived from an ancient African recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation and first introduced to Fresh Start Beverage founder, Neter Alkebulan, by his own Grandmother,  BANANA WAVE bananamilk begins with a universally loved fruit that is a staple in most households – bananas.  In fact, because BANANA WAVE bananamilk begins with pure banana puree, one serving contains as much potassium as a small banana, 330 mg, and also contains 29 vitamins and minerals and 1200 mg of Omega-3s per serving.   BANANA WAVE bananamilk is vegan, all natural, dairy, gluten and GMO free.  BANANA WAVE bananamilk contains three of nature’s “superfoods” – fruit, grains and seeds – making it a nutritious option for anyone with an on-the-go lifestyle, active kids, athletes, and of course, banana lovers.  It is also an ideal option for vegans, vegetarians, those managing a dairy or nut allergy or for anyone looking for a nutritious alternative milk beverage.  Delicious and refreshing on its own as a snack or meal replacement, BANANA WAVE bananamilk is also perfect for smoothies, on cereal or for use in cooking and baking.